A young look at gender violence

A young girl jumps from her bunk at a boarding junior-high school when she wakes up in the middle of the night and realizes that her friend is not in her bed. When she finally arrives, she lets her know that her boyfriend raped her when she asked him to separate.

This is the plot of Literas (Bunks), a short film by Carla Valdés, a fourth-year student at the School of Audiovisual Productions of the College of Art (ISA).
«I was inspired by true stories,» she told SEMlac.

The growing number of audiovisual productions dealing with gender, sexual, physical and/or even symbolic violence has made experts highlight the need to remove patriarchal stereotypes that often turn these acts into something natural.

ISA professor Danae C. Diéguez is one of them. «It is imperative to move from mere reflection to reaction against inequities,» she indicated.

There are no clear mechanisms in place for victims to report these types of abuse at educational facilities.

«The number of cases that are reported is much lower than the overall real figure. They are just the tip of the iceberg,» wrote Dr. Jorge Peláez, a child and infant gynecologist, in an article published in the Revista Cubana de Obstetricia y Ginecología (Cuban Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology).

Visibility versus effectiveness

Most specialists believe that it is vital to further implement training and awareness-raising actions for artists, journalists, and broadcasters.

The gender theory can be very instrumental in these endeavors. It can certainly help make a comprehensive review of male-chauvinism and related phenomena.

Daniela Muñoz, another student at the same school, regrets that gender violence has simply become trendy.

She presented her short film Prohibido olvidar (Forbidden to forget) at a contest for young directors organized by the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC) last April. It is based on a short story by Eduardo Galeano that deals with violence against women.

«We first need to be trained and committed if we want to speak or write about violence,» stressed Sissy Gómez, another student who was granted the UNiTE Award at a festival last March.

The jury was presided over by Begoña Arellano, program coordinator at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Office in Cuba.

«My idea was to show how children learn to behave in ways that seem to be natural, but are in fact conducive to violence,» Gómez told SEMlac.

«The situation is even worse when artistically crafted products tend to re-victimize women and re-produce male-chauvinistic stereotypes,» Diéguez emphasized.

«The media cannot overcome the problem, but can help change realities,» Valdés concluded.

Translated by Adolfo Fuentes

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